Rector's Final Account
The year 2020 will go down in history as a special year of the pandemic, when many things changed and the movement and assembly of people was restricted in many ways. However, Jamk University of Applied Sciences survived the exceptional year well compared to the circumstances.
When we look at our performance in 2020, as Rector I cannot help but feel quite satisfied. Last year, 1,400 students graduated from Bachelor's programmes at Jamk, which is more than ever before. A record number of Master's degrees were also completed. In addition, the volume of RDI activities and external funding reached new heights.
Jamk retained its position among the three most attractive universities of applied sciences when measured by the number of first-choice applicants to Bachelor's degrees programmes per intake place. Last year was one of the best in the history of Jamk University of Applied Sciences Ltd in terms of financial performance, with an operating profit of approx. EUR 1.5 million and a share of equity capital in the balance sheet that is probably one of the highest of all Finnish UASs.
In year 2020 marked by the pandemic, Jamk took a veritable ‘quantum leap' towards our strategic goal of reinventing higher education. The transition to distance learning and the use of various flexible hybrid models last spring were highly successful. Jamk was one step ahead in delivering digital pedagogy and making the digital transformation a reality. Since 2016, we have led a major development process called eAMK, in which we have had a ringside seat for learning new things. Launched in 2019, the DigiCentre has been a major driver of development and helped teachers and other staff members to pick up new digital pedagogy learning skills.
Jamk is a pioneer of applied cybersecurity in Finland, and we have made significant investments in developing infrastructure and expertise related to it. Jamk could also play a large role in turning the national Digivision 2030 into reality in the years to come.
Distance work has been a positive game changer for the modes of expert work, adding new dimensions to it and improving its efficiency. It has also eliminated unnecessary business trips, which previously took up a great deal of working time and increased costs significantly. I believe that distance work will also remain important after the pandemic and that many tasks can be managed as well or better than before without travel. Additionally, distance work will also enable us to cut back on Jamk’s leased facilities in the future, and to clearly improve the efficiency of our space use.
As a new Rector takes over in early September 2021, this is a good time to assess my 15 years at the helm of Jamk. I will carry out this examination in purely numerical terms. In later years, historians can also assess other aspects of my term as Rector in 2006–2021. Owing to large cutbacks made by the Ministry of Education and Culture, Jamk's turnover dropped to around EUR 50 million in 2015. At that stage, the management team set the target of systematically increasing the share of complementary external funding, in addition to that provided by Ministry of Education and Culture, to at least 30% of our turnover. According to last year's financial statements, Jamk's turnover clearly exceeded the milestone of EUR 60 million. This means that over five years, we have achieved a growth of over EUR 10 million; the share of complementary funding is likely to be around 25%, as the basic funding from the Ministry of Education and Culture has also increased during this period. With such results, Jamk has been highly successful in competition between universities of applied sciences, and we are firmly among the five highest-performing UASs in Finland.
It is my strong belief that the new Rector will bring to Jamk many new opportunities and networks as well as a new operating culture. Above all, this will enable the change of pace called for by the Board Chair, which I expect is necessary. Important issues in the future will include the potential integration with LIKES Research Centre for Physical Activity and Health, advancement in cooperation with the university, and Jamk's new premises solutions. All these projects can promote our strategic goal of reinventing higher education.
I would like to thank all our partners and Jamk staff for the last 15 years!